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INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNICATION THEORY AND PRACTICE The word communication comes from the Latin communicare, to make common

to many or to give to another as a partaker (Oxford English Dictionary, 1986). It incorporates at least three complex ideas: 1) conveying or exchanging intangible elements such as information, ideas, and meaning; 2) a union or relationship implying mutual revelation, discovery, and effects; and 3) a recognition that these processes occur at all levels of human experience. The word entered common English usage at about the same time that printing technology emerged in 15th century Europe and made possible the growth and diffusion of knowledge on a previously unattained scale. Various aspects of communication have long been the subject of human study. In ancient Greece and Rome, the study of rhetoric, the art of oratory and persuasion, was a vital subject for students. Through the European Middle Ages and Renaissance grammar, rhetoric, and logic constituted the entire trivium, the base of the system of classical learning in Europe. Today, communication studies is an academic field that deals with processes of communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols over distances in space and time. Hence, communication studies encompasses a wide range of topics and contexts ranging from face-to-face conversation to speeches and to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting. Communication studies, as a discipline, is also often interested in how audiences interpret information and the political, cultural, economic, and social dimensions of speech and language in context. Communication is institutionalized under many different names at different universities and in various countries, including "communication", "communication studies", "speech communication", "rhetorical studies", "communications science", "media studies", "communication arts", "mass communication", and "media ecology." . Communication studies often overlaps with academic programs in journalism, film and cinema, radio and television, advertising and public relations and performance studies. Recently, institutions have migrated towards the common term of "communication studies" to encapsulate and cohere the vast depth and breadth of the field. A. Data indicating the importance of communication: 1. Politics: politicians and voters: in democratic countries, politicians need votes in order to be elected and require public support for their initiatives. 2. Economy: Good relationships among employees allow the company to function successfully. Advertising campaigns create the image of the company and help in selling its products. Smiling schools established in Japan. 3. The military: Soldiers should always follow orders; replacing a CO in battle because he is not trusted and consequently is unable to lead. Knowing the position of the participants in a military operation and transmitting orders as soon as possible: the digital battlefield.

The psychological warfare. 4. Religion: Attending church periodically. The church and the use of communication science and technology. Traditionally: talking to God by praying (to pray, prayer). 5. Science: Communication and the evolution of scientific knowledge. Communication science provides the other domains with the necessary know-how. The study of communication, the shaping of the human species and the development of the individual: - E.g.: the feral child is unable to evolve into a human being, he continues to walk on all fours, to eat with his mouth like an animal, and he is not capable of learning any human language. - E.g.: the psychological damage identified in prisoners kept in solitary confinement or in computer addicts spending more than 8 hours/day with their PCs. - E.g.: the road rage incidents involving car drivers and the absence of rage among pedestrians. - E.g.: the laughter schools in India: laughter not only a form of communication but also a healing method, in a way a method to talk to yourself. B. Definition of communication: a process involving a SENDER, a MESSAGE, and a RECEIVER; the Sender encodes the Message; the Receiver decodes the Message, stores it and later retrieves it. The process involves: - time and space; - biological, psychological, social, metaphysical and cosmic aspects; - use of semiotic units such as signs, symbols and signals. - Sign: letter, a word, a gesture that has a meaning different from the item perceived. - Symbol: lion: animal living in certain parts of the world and lion as symbol of power and monarchy. - Signal: a simple sign used in a particular situation and having only one meaning: traffic lights, the electric bulb the Pavlovs dog. C. Classification of communicational situations according to various criteria: 1. Verbal: includes both spoken and written communication; the former refers to either words or grunts, cries and whimpers; speakers using sign language would be considered to be using a form of verbal communication. 2. Nonverbal: gestures, noises, body language, actions. 3. Graphic: involves the process of creating, producing, and distributing material incorporating words and images to convey data, concepts, and emotions. 4. Intrapersonal: communicating with yourself; it encompasses such activities as thought processing, personal decision making, listening, and determining self-concept.

5. Interpersonal: communication that takes place between two or more persons who establish a communicative relationship; it includes face-to-face or mediated conversations, interviews, and small-group discussions. 6. Public: characterized by a speaker's sending a message to an audience; it may be direct, such as a face-to-face message delivered by a speaker to an audience, or indirect, such as a message relayed over radio or television. 7. Mass: individuals and entities relay information through mass media to large segments of the population at the same time; it is usually understood to relate to newspaper and magazine publishing, radio, television and film, as these are used both for disseminating news and for advertising. D. Communication issues in the Health Care Systems: The Role of Health Communication in Disease Prevention and Control There are numerous definitions of health communication. The National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the following: The study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health. Successful health communication programs involve more than the production of messages and materials. They use research-based strategies to shape the products and determine the channels that deliver them to the right intended audiences. Healthy People 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated health objectives for the nation, contains separate objectives for health communication for the first time. Meanwhile, the availability of new technologies is expanding access to health information and raising questions about equality of access, accuracy of information, and how to use the new tools most effectively. What Health Communication Can and Cannot Do Understanding what health communication can and cannot do is critical to communicating successfully. Health communication is one tool for promoting or improving health. Changes in health care services, technology, regulations, and policy are often also necessary to completely address a health problem. Communication alone can: 1. Increase the intended audiences knowledge and awareness of a health issue, problem, or solution. 2. Influence perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes that may change social norms. 3. Prompt action. 4. Demonstrate or illustrate healthy skills. 5. Reinforce knowledge, attitudes, or behavior. 6. Show the benefit of behavior change. 7. Advocate a position on a health issue or policy. 8. Increase demand or support for health services. 9. Refute myths and misconceptions. 10. Strengthen organizational relationships.

Communication combined with other strategies can: 1. Cause sustained change in which an individual adopts and maintains a new health behavior or an organization adopts and maintains a new policy direction. 2. Overcome barriers/systemic problems, such as insufficient access to care. Communication cannot: 1. Compensate for inadequate health care or access to health care services. 2. Produce sustained change in complex health behaviors without the support of a larger program for change, including components addressing health care services, technology, and changes in regulations and policy. 3. Be equally effective in addressing all issues or relaying all messages because the topic or suggested behavior change may be complex, because the intended audience may have preconceptions about the topic or message sender, or because the topic may be controversial.